Friday, March 2, 2018

'70s Trash: Devil's Express

A Film who's greatest achievement is the name of its Star.  Today's Film is Devil's Express, a 1976 Blaxploitation Kung-Fu Monster Movie.  That sounds amazing!  It's...alright.  This one 'jumped the line' of Reviews for me since it sounded so ridiculous and I wanted to end Black History Month by watching it.  I don't regret my choice.  In any event this Film- also known as Gang Wars- is about a man, a monster and the magic amulet that connects them.  As I said, it is a strange mix of Blaxploitation- being about a mighty Black Hero who hates 'the man'-, Kung-Fu Film - featuring lots of Martial Arts and China - and a Monster Movie- because of said monster.  The Plot involves a mystical Amulet, a monster that seeks it and a City full of other problems.  the film has some clear pacing issues and an inability to pick what it wants to focus on.  A Story is going on- well, let's stop that for some romance.  The Plot moved forward- stop that for another Alley Kung-Fu fight.  It's a bit of a mess.  To find out how odd this whole thing is, read on...
Before talking about the Plot, let's highlight the Film's Star, or, rather, his name.  Embrace this glorious, glorious name...
Anyhow, the Film begins the past.  The short version: evil amulet and everyone who knew where it is buried is dead.
In New York, Mr. Tanzania is learning the Martial Arts and has a Cop friend...even if he won't do what the guy wants- become a Cop himself.
He goes to China with another friend to train, which is important since it brings the amulet into the Story.

Other than that, it is slow, plodding filler.  That's the norm, sadly.
Back in the City, the tensions are rising between the two big gangs- the Blacks and the Chinese.

Somehow they do Drug Deals and hold-ups in public in broad daylight.  Look at all of these witnesses in the background!!!
When the Amulet was taken by our Hero's friend, a creature rose.  It attacks a guy and mutates him, leading to many, many minutes of him wandering around before he goes into the Subway and mutates.
Since it takes forever for the creature finally even exist and start killing random people, let me focus on the hilarious Kung-Fu Fights.  There are about four of these and feature really silly choreography.

It also features some hilarious stuff like this...
After the creature kills many people and tensions rise even more, the Chinese Gang makes a truce with Tanzania.  They tell him about the Amulet and...what is up with this guy's face?!?

I mean no offense if that is legitimately what he looked like due to some disease, but...damn!
The whole Film comes down to the battle between good and evil!  It is...mostly just a dull Martial Arts fight between Tanzania and random people (which the creature assumes the form of).

After not much excitement, he kills it and the whole thing is covered up.  The End.
It should be better.  It should be more interesting.  It should have a clear identity.  Devil's Express is a whole mess of a Film that never quite focuses.  At points, it can't decide whether it wants to be about Gangs or a Monster or our Hero.  This should be great.  Just to be clear- not actually great, but great by my silly standards.  I should get lots of shots of the Monster.  I should see him Kung-Fu fight with War Hawk Tanzania.  I should get something more than what I got.  It's not a complete waste, but it is a bit of a 'meh' affair when it should be laughably-great.  War Hawk Tanzania, by the way, has a very sparse IMDB Page.  It just has his name and his two official Credits- that's it.  Is he alive or dead?  What's he up to?  Why wasn't he in Black Panther?!?  Regardless, Devil's Express is alright...but should be hilarious.  Kind of like how this kick being off by about a foot is hilarious, you know.
Next time, I do the Film I actually meant to.  You do that voodoo that you do so well, sir.  Stay tuned...

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